Marie is generous enough—and brave enough—to share her journey with her writing, and how this came to be her very first published story. And below that, is an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.
“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story…” I love that partial quote, which is the opening line to Homer’s The Odyssey. It rings true every time I sit down in front of the computer with creative contrivings in mind. Sometimes my Muse is cooperative and we make beautiful things together. Other times, well… I’m convinced that my Muse is out licking windows, eating crayons, sniffing glue or any combination thereof. Even worse, she doesn’t share. Occasionally I’m able to bribe her with caffeine or sandwiches. She apparently works cheap.
She was feeling generous when I sat down in front of the computer one day after work. I had the first line and the basic plot for “The Way to a Woman’s Heart” in my head, and soon my fingers were a’flyin’ over the keyboard. I knocked out about three quarters of the first draft then and finished it up the next day. Sarah and Caitlin just wouldn’t shut up.
So I reread, tweaked, sent it off to a few select people, followed some of their feedback, and fretted. Repeat two or three times. I knew that I could keep tinkering with it forever and still not be completely happy, so I finally just submitted it. And waited.
Finally the day arrived when I saw the email from Andi and R.G. sitting in my inbox. Hoping to break out into The Hallelujah Chorus upon reading it, instead I found the kindest rejection letter in the history of ever. Listed were what they liked about my story and why it wasn’t accepted for the anthology. Also included in that email was an offer to contact Andi for more details. So I did.
Not only did Andi provide a more in-depth explanation, she also offered to do a beta read and edit of said story. Rather blown away by the kindness of the offer, knowing that Andi had a crazy-busy schedule, I accepted. In the meantime, the call for submissions to Order Up was reopened. Once the edited story was returned along with a, “Don’t freak out, this is what an edited document is supposed to look like.” message, my Muse and I downed a couple of shots of Jack Daniels, chugged a beer for a chaser and got to work. Okay, maybe it was only one shot of JD and no beer. Alright, I admit it. It was coffee, okay? I had coffee before rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.
I followed most of Andi’s advice and suggestions, then sent the new and improved version off to the same select people. Repeat above process before resubmitting my story. Then came the waiting game again. Before, Andi and R.G. had replied about a week after the deadline. This time, that week came and went. Another. Years went by, at least that’s what it felt like. Finally, the day arrived where I read the congratulatory email. My story was accepted for the anthology. My dream of having my words published was going to come true. My Muse went on a celebratory glue-sniffing bender, but that’s another story.
Excerpt from “The Way to a Woman’s Heart”:
Background to story excerpt: Sarah and Caitlin are best friends, and Sarah made meatball subs for Caitlin, one of her favorite comfort foods, because Caitlin needed some best friend therapy. The two are sitting down to dinner and a movie, discussing an alternate plot point while Sarah’s cat Lily pays close attention.
After we moved to the couch with fresh beers and our hedonistic sandwiches, Caitlin perused my movies for a few minutes before triumphantly holding up Shrek. “Do we wanna go green?” she asked.
“I like how you think.” She loaded the movie, settled next to me, and grabbed the remote as I began eating. This sandwich is not for the fastidious diner, so even using a knife and fork, I was glad I had a napkin spread over my lap.
Caitlin gestured at the TV with her fork and a wayward drop of sauce landed on the coffee table. Lily was my girl-on-the-spot, and licked it up before I could say anything. I mock-glared at Caitlin and she shrugged sheepishly before speaking.
“What if Fiona had fancied one of the ladies? Snow White seems like she’d probably be a dead lay, but Cinderella might be fun.”
“Snow White would be too easy anyway. Dead girls can’t say no,” I pointed out. Caitlin laughed, called me a sicko and kept on with what she was saying.
“She’d have to be home before midnight, though, otherwise you’d just be left with a hot mess on your hands.”
“One with a shoe fetish.” I sipped my beer.
“That being said, Fiona probably would have lived happily ever after had she just left everyone behind, bought a vibrator, and taught self-defense classes for a living.”
“It would’ve saved that dragon some Farquad-induced indigestion.”
Here’s the full blog tour schedule (go back and check the previous ones if you missed them).
June 6: Andi Marquette, blogging at her site (The Situation Room).
June 7: Jove Belle, blogging at her site.
June 8: Cheyenne Blue, blogging at her site.
June 9: Brey Willows, blogging at her site.
June 10: Lea Daley, blogging at R.G. Emanuelle’s site.
June 13: Cheri Crystal, blogging at Andi Marquette’s site.
June 14: CK Combs, blogging at Butchtastic.net.
June 15: Liz McMullen, blogging at her site.
June 16: Marie Sterling, blogging at R.G. Emanuelle‘s site.
June 17: Rebekah Weatherspoon, blogging at her site.
June 20: Jaye Markham, blogging at Andi Marquette‘s site.
June 21: Emma Weimann, at Andi Marquette‘s site
June 22: N.R. Dunham, blogging at her site.
June 23: Pascal Scott, at R.G. Emanuelle‘s site.
June 24: R.G. Emanuelle, blogging at her site.